The Seven Churches of Revelation – New CD-Rom

Response to our existing CDs has been heartwarming, with many requests for more teaching tools like these. Having visited the Seven Churches of Revelation in 2010 and having been immersed in this subject before and since, we had to make this the subject of our next CD. It is the fact that the letters of Jesus to these representative churches were written with full knowledge of the circumstances and environment of each group of believers that make this subject so edifying and compelling.

The latest CD of Ritmeyer Archaeological Design

This presentation has 105 pictures and captions, making it suitable for a two-part talk (or a shorter one, if some slides were left out). It begins on the beautiful Greek island of Patmos, where the Apostle John was told to write the visions which he saw in a scroll and send them to the Seven Churches (Greek singular:”ekklesia”) which were in Asia. We visit these sites: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea in order, with additional slides devoted to Laodicea’s sister churches in the Lycus Valley: Colossae and Hierapolis, (without reference to these neighbouring churches, in particular their water supply, the letter to Laodicea would be unintelligible).

The circular postal route of the messenger is mapped, with a separate map given to highlight his journey from one city to the next. Each section includes a slide containing the full message to each church (quoted from the NKJV) with a useful summary given in its caption. The church and its city is then placed in its geographical and historical setting, with links made to the local background in each letter. Images providing Scriptural insight, accompanied by detailed captions, are given of each city. In Ephesus, you can disembark at the ancient harbour and walk with the messenger up the Harbour Way to the Theatre where the great riot had taken place about thirty years earlier in the time of Paul. With reference to Smyrna, see a possible modern remnant of the “crown of life.” In Philadelphia, ponder the poignancy of the promise to the “overcomers” of that city, never more to have to “go out.” This was to a group of people who were used to always having to flee the city, in an area notoriously prone to earthquakes.

And there are pictures that show the truly stunning location of some of these cities: the lofty acropolis of Pergamum, Sardis’ gentle glen of the Pactolus, in which King Midas is reputed to have washed off his “golden touch” and the breathtaking beauty of the travertine cliffs of Hierapolis. With the photographs having been taken in April, some of them cannot escape being framed with poppies or Judas Trees.

Not living at the time these letters were written, we cannot expect to fully appreciate their force. However, with the help of this presentation and the many illuminating links made to the background of each church, we can better appreciate the message of these letters which are still so remarkably relevant today.

The CD cover slide shows the Temple of Trajan in Pergamum, where the cult of Emperor worship made the city the place of “Satan’s Throne.”

The Image Library is Online!

As promised, our new Image Library is now online!

Ritmeyer Archaeological Design Image Library

The blurb:

The Image Library of Ritmeyer Archaeological Design contains authoritative reconstruction drawings and models which you will not find on any other website. The photos of ancient sites in the lands of the Bible have also been taken through the informed lens of an archaeological architect. A treasure-trove for teachers, pastors, lecturers and picture editors, it is the result of years of experience digging and researching in Israel and traveling in the surrounding countries.

The Image Library is arranged in different categories and is fully searchable. The different categories are designed to help you find the picture you are looking for easily. All preview illustrations are watermarked, but these won’t appear on the downloads.

For ease of use, each image comes with a descriptive note and, where applicable, full Scripture references. With the explosion of information coming from excavations, we hope that this will become an ever-expanding resource vital for all who wish to incorporate both beauty and authenticity into their portrayal of the Bible background.

After talking about doing this for the past 10 years, we’ve finally done it! Let us know of any images you’d like to see added to the library…

Image Library Preview

In just a few days time, our Image Library (see introduction in previous post) should be online. Below are two samples to give a foretaste of its contents. All preview illustrations are watermarked, but these won’t appear on the downloads.

1. A reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple-Palace complex.

Solomon's Temple-Palace complex - © Leen Ritmeyer

This drawing is a development of the plan of this religio-political complex which we supplied for the ESV Study Bible (p. 607). Here is the description that goes with the drawing of Solomon’s Temple-Palace complex in the Image Library:

According to 1 Kings 6 and 7, Solomon built a new Temple and Palace Complex on Mount Moriah. This schematic drawing shows an arrangement of the different buildings, based on parallels with similar complexes excavated elsewhere in the Middle East.
The main entrance was through the Hall of Pillars (1 Kings 7.6), which was flanked by the Throne Hall (1 Kings 7.7) on the right, where Solomon judged, and the armoury, called the House of the Forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7.2-5) on the left. In the centre of this complex is the palace, called Solomon’s House (1 Kings 7.8a), which had a separate wing for his wife, Pharaoh’s Daughter (1 Kings 7.8b). From a large courtyard in front of Solomon’s House, a special Royal Ascent (1 Kings 10.5 KJV) led up to the Temple (1 Kings 6), which lay on higher ground.

This drawing is annotated, but as with many of the other illustrations, a copy without annotations is also available for you to add your own.

2. Altar of Zeus at Pergamum
Located in modern-day Turkey, Pergamum (also known as Pergamon or Pergamos) was the third of the seven churches of Asia to receive a letter from Jesus Christ (Revelation 2.12-17).

Altar of Zeus at Pergamum - © Leen Ritmeyer

Here is the description that goes with the image:

The Altar of Zeus stood on a terrace on the west side of the hill of Pergamum. In the 19th century, German excavators recovered many scattered remains of this altar and reconstructed it in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin.
The altar consisted of a monumental stairway leading up to a colonnaded court where an altar for burnt offerings was located. A frieze, depicting a mythological battle between Greek gods and giants, runs round the structure.
Superimposing a picture of this altar model on the site shows what an impressive building it was.
Some scholars have suggested that this monument, which was an important center of pagan religion, constituted the “Throne of Satan” (Revelation 2:13). However, as Christians were mainly persecuted because of their refusal to worship the emperor, this “Throne of Satan” appears rather to refer to the Roman seat of government which was also located in Pergamum.

New Image Library

Good news for teachers, lecturers, picture editors and publishers! We are excited to announce our new Image Library which will go online in about a week’s time. There are already hundreds of reconstruction drawings and photographs of Biblical sites and models in our Image Library and we hope to add many more over time.

These images (unique to Ritmeyer Archaeological Design),  are arranged in different categories, such as Illustrating the Bible, Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Biblical sites, Buildings and Ritual of the Bible. The Image Library will be fully searchable.
All the images come with a description giving full background information, which you can read before you decide which ones you would like to order. You can also view them in a reasonably large size before downloading.

Here is an sample of the “Illustrating the Bible” page, showing that you can browse according to Books in the Bible:

Another way of browsing, for example, is using the “Biblical Sites in Israel” page:

The different categories are designed to help you find the picture you are looking for easily.

Images can be downloaded individually to enhance your presentation. The pictures can be used privately or in presentations at Sunday Schools, Bible Classes and lectures at Universities.

Larger size images are available for commercial publication.

Keep following our blog for further developments!

Accordance Carta Collection

Dr. Helen Brown of OakTree Software, which produces the Accordance Bible Software for Mac, told me that Accordance has announced the Carta Collection:

The new Carta Collection offers an outstanding collection of Bible Atlases and books on the historical geography of the Bible. Each book is richly illustrated with original artwork, reconstructions, drawings, and diagrams. These are must-have volumes for anyone interested in the background of the Bible, and for teachers at every level.

As a Mac user, Accordance is my favourite Bible Software and I use it almost on a daily basis. We were pleased to know that three of our books were chosen to be part of this selection:

The Quest, Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah
Jerusalem in the Year 30 A.D.

Todd Bolen of wrote this about the collection:

An extraordinary collection of historical and geographical works on the Bible from the Carta Publishing House in Jerusalem has been announced for Accordance Bible Software (Mac).  Some of these works are the best in the field and available nowhere else electronically.

The collection consists of the following books:

Bible Lands Atlases

  • The Sacred Bridge
  • Carta’s New Century Handbook and Atlas of the Bible
  • The Carta Bible Atlas
  • The Illustrated Bible Atlas with Historical Nots
  • Bible History Atlas Study Edition
  • The Onomasticon by Eusebius of Caesarea


  • The Illustrated Atlas of Jerusalem
  • Carta’s Historical Atlas of Jerusalem
  • Jerusalem in the Time of Nehemiah
  • Jerusalem in the Year 30 A.D.


  • The Quest
  • Carta’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of The Holy Temple in Jerusalem
  • The Holy Temple of Jerusalem

New Educational Bible Charts

At last, the visual aids that Sunday School teachers and leaders of small Bible Study groups have been crying out for! As teachers ourselves, we know that there are certain areas of Scripture that simply must be visualised, or they are never going to be absorbed. Try using these charts in your teaching to find out the truth of the saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words!” If an image is the main thing that a student takes from your class, it is vital that it is an accurate representation of God’s Word.

The Crossing of the Jordan - © Leen Ritmeyer

We have often printed out these pictures to help friends who have the privilege of teaching the young and after many requests, thought to offer them as part of our product line. Of necessity, they are slightly more expensive than our posters, as they are printed by request only. We hope to pick out from our available images those that are most useful for teaching purposes and offer them as Bible Charts, so keep an eye out for more inspiring educational materials.

Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah - © Leen Ritmeyer

The Bible Charts are individually designed and printed on A3 (297 × 420mm or 11.7 x 15.5 inch) size, high-quality, thick photo paper (paper weight 100 lb. or 270 g/m2). Each chart is annotated and has Scriptural references. Full information on each picture can be read online in the product description. Sufficiently durable to allow them to be passed around a group, they can further focus the attention of students when used in a wall display.

The Ark of the Covenant

With the conversion of our slide set, “From Sinai to Sakhra,” into digital format, the complete set of volumes we previously had available is now on disc. Having ourselves followed, in part, the route of the Ark and being intimately familiar with some of its resting-places, this subject is close to our hearts. Information that has come to light in recent years has been added, making this CD an entirely new presentation.

Pictures of a model of the Tabernacle, designed by Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, have been included to help viewers understand the place of the Ark in the symbolism of God’s desert sanctuary. Specially created maps of its journey to the Promised Land and wanderings among the Philistines make it possible to follow this dramatic story. There are unique reconstruction drawings of scenes such as the Camp of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai and evocative photographs of the desert scenes through which the Ark passed. The view of Moses from Mount Nebo is contrasted with that of Balaam, the mad prophet, from the very same spot. A rare photograph of the River Jordan in flood serves to demonstrate the faith of the two spies who crossed it before the Ark could lead the Israelites into their inheritance.

Reconstruction drawing of the Camp of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai - © Leen Ritmeyer

Excavation photographs and diagrams show that the walls of Jericho really did fall down! Once Jerusalem is reached, the cities of David and Solomon, which were so closely involved with the Ark’s stay, are explored both in photographs and graphics. The account of the travels of the Ark ends with the installation of this holiest of objects in the Holy of Holies of the Temple and a discussion as to its possible location today.

We have ideas for exciting new topics for CDs to aid you in your Bible study and teaching and will keep you posted on this blog. Do let us know if there is a subject you would like covered.

The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine

This must be required reading:

The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine
Edited by Catherine Hezser

Written by an international and interdisciplinary team of
distinguished scholars, The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in
Roman Palestine is an indispensable reference compendium on the
day-to-day lives of Jews in the land of Israel in Roman times. Ranging
from subjects such as clothing and domestic architecture to food and
meals, labour and trade, and leisure time activities, the volume
covers all the major themes in an encompassing yet easily accessible
way. Individual chapters introduce the reader to the current state of
research on particular aspects of ancient Jewish everyday life –
research which has been greatly enriched by critical methodological
approaches to rabbinic texts, and by the growing interest of
archaeologists in investigating the lives of ordinary people. Detailed
bibliographies inspire further engagement by enabling readers to
pursue their own lines of enquiry.The Handbook will prove to be an
invaluable reference work and tool for all students and scholars of
ancient Judaism, rabbinic literature, Roman provincial history and
culture, and of ancient Christianity.

* Interdisciplinary approach presents the most up-to-date
perspectives on the study of ancient Jewish daily life
* An indispensable reference tool for all students and scholars of
ancient Judaism, Roman provincial history and culture, and early
* Written by a team of internationally renowned scholars
* Extensive bibliographies help to orientate future research projects
* Part of the prestigious Oxford Handbooks series

About the Author(s)
Catherine Hezser is Professor of Jewish Studies at the School of
Oriental and African Studies, University of London

HT: Jack Sasson

The Way to Golgotha in Jerusalem

Feedback from customers who have purchased our new CD Volume 2: “Jerusalem in the time of Christ,” has been very positive, indicating that you have found it a really useful aid in understanding and teaching this topic. You can see a taster below of the final slide in the set. It shows the culmination of a series of five slides, each one building on the next and indicating a stage in The Way to Golgotha – Christ’s last journey in Jerusalem. Stages shown are:

From Gethsemane to the High Priest
From the High Priest to Pilate
From Pilate to Herod Antipas
From Herod Antipas back to Pilate
From Pilate to Golgotha

Five stages in the Way of the Cross

The traditional Via Dolorosa or Path of Sorrows was fixed by monks in Western Europe in the eighteenth century and a devotional procession along this route is still led by Franciscans every Friday. In fact, the streets upon which Jesus walked lie about 10 feet below the level of these thoroughfares. By contrast, The Way to Golgotha is firmly based on Scriptural and archaeological evidence, with the claims of the two alternative sites for the crucifixion clearly evaluated.